EAR TO THE GROUND

Presenter Darragh McCullough and Martin Greene(Fit Farmers) (05)Ear to the Ground, programme 13 (January 31st). Image Name: Presenter Darragh McCullough and Martin Greene(Fit Farmers) (05)Ear to the Ground, programme 13 (January 31st).
Helen Carroll and farmer James Murphy(Lambing story) (05)Ear to the Ground, prog 13, January 31st. Image Name: Helen Carroll and farmer James Murphy(Lambing story) (05)Ear to the Ground, prog 13, January 31st.

Series 26, Programme 13

SYRIAN FARMERS

After eight years of civil war, Syria has been devastated. Over half of its 20 million people have been displaced, and millions have fled to refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. Two thousand of those refugees have moved to Ireland, including farmers Abdul and Faisal.

They and their families live in Claremorris ,Co Mayo where they are reconnecting with their roots on the farm of Oliver and Anna Dixon. They farm organic beef cattle, and one day a week, Abdul and Faisal help out on the farm. It’s a far cry from the olive groves in Syria, abandoned because of drought and war.

Ella McSweeney spends the day in Mayo and finds out how the families are settling into life in rural Ireland.

LAMBING and WOOL

Its Springtime on Ear to the Ground, and where else would Helen Carroll be, only on a sheep farm at the start of a busy lambing season. She spent the day with James Murphy on Saddle Hill Farm just outside Inistioge in Co Kilkenny.

James will be lambing over 300 ewes over the next couple of months but, while prices are strong for the meat that this year’s crop of lambs will produce, unfortunately the same can’t be said about the wool on their backs.

As well as enjoying seeing healthy lambs being born, Helen will be asking why are wool prices so poor – in fact, farmers can expect to receive so little for a fleece, that many don’t even bother selling it.

FIT FARMERS

On the face of it, farmers should be among the healthiest of people. After all, they have an active job, they work outdoors, and grow healthy food. But many farmers also have full-time jobs, leaving them little time for a healthy work life balance.

Laura Tully is a nurse who noticed her farmer neighbours were not as fit as they should be so she designed a tailor made fitness programme to get them on the road to a healthier lifestyle.

Cattle farmer Martin Greene now runs 7km twice a week and has lost two stone since enrolling in the programme last year. Sheep and Cattle farmer Michael Glennon has joined in the class too and is hoping the strength exercises will reduce his backache during the busy lambing season.

Darragh McCullough joins the class in Moore, Co Roscommon where 25 local farmers are starting their exercise and nutrition programme.

Ear to the Ground Thursdays at 7pm. Repeat 13.10pm Sunday,  RTÉ One,

Produced by indiepics for RTÉ.

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